At the age of 101, Vera Tomlinson continues to live life to the fullest.

The centenarian describes her recent trip to Alaska with her seven nephews and nieces as a “big adventure.” She is also not shy about ice cream.

"[The doctor] said I could have ice cream, so I have lots of it,” said Tomlinson in a promotional video by St. Peter's Hospital.

Tomlinson is one of the participants in the hospital's falls and fracture prevention clinic. With the launch of a new research venture on Wednesday, geriatricians and researchers at the hospital hope more people like Tomlinson can benefit from healthy aging.

Vera Thomlinson

Vera Thomlinson, flanked by doctors and researchers from St. Peter's Hospital and McMaster University, cuts the ribbon for the launch of GERAS Centre. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

St. Peter's Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre, a joint venture between St. Peter's Hospital and McMaster University, aims to provide support for aging-related research and education.

The centre is the latest response to an aging population. In 2011, an estimated 5 million Canadians were aged 65 years or older, a number that is expected to double in the next 25 years, according to Statistics Canada.

The centre's acronym GERAS, means “old age” in Greek. It also carries the meaning of honour, which the hospital says will characterize the spirit of the centre.

Three specific areas will be covered by the initiative:

  • Frailty, falls and fractures.

  • Dementia and delirium.

  • End-of-life care.

Tomlinson's doctor Alexandra Papaioannou, a geriatrician at St. Peter's Hospital, said the three areas target some of the biggest health challenges faced by Canada.

St. Peter's Hospital is a natural location for the centre, according to John Kelton, vice-president of the faculty of health Sciences at McMaster.

“This is the best [location] in the city because it's a hospital devoted to the care of the elderly,” he told CBC Hamilton.

Although the centre is located in Hamilton, Kelton said the results of the centre will have a wider reach.

“We care for citizens in our city, our interest is the world.”